Survival Lessons for Kids in 2016

 

11357838_112293442443658_745312663_nIt’s New Year’s Eve and the blessings to our family have surpassed our hopes. We magnify Him for the opportunities and challenges, for Ezra and the joy he brought to this year from start to finish. We praise him for our children and for the doors he has opened for them to do His will. We are thankful for our parents who are still living and enjoying a measure of health (and, of course, for the continuing influence of my mother, who waits in glory).  Especially, as this year closes, we are grateful for our new daughter-in-law, Rebekah. She is the answer to many prayers and we will forever be thankful for Heaven’s response to those fervent daily prayers.

In this, the dawn of 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about those who are younger parents trying to raise children for heaven in the present American culture. I know many of them who are doing a better job than I could ever do. But still, the mentality of the day is to ‘live and let live,” to deny the existence of truth and to, thus, affirm all beliefs and lifestyles. It has a strong undercurrent of  seeking human approval and material success.  So, it takes a lot of parental stamina to keep battling the devil as he tries to normalize behaviors that have, throughout our nation’s history, been considered shameful and diabolical. We try to battle on  while insuring that our families are seeking first His kingdom.

Here are five important lessons for the hearts of children in 2016.  I threw in a few examples from scripture in case you’re making a template for Family Bible time this year. Of course, there are many more examples in each case.

  • We will NOT always be like everyone else, but we will always be kind to everyone else (Joseph’s treatment of his brothers in the last chapters of Genesis, Israel clamored for a king in the early chapters of I Samuel, The one grateful leper in Luke 17).
  • We will love our country, but we will keep in mind that it is not this country that will abide forever (Paul turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13, Jeremiah—the weeping prophet, Hebrews 11 and the “better country”).
  • We will keep in mind that the most important things are not things at all (Esau’s bowl of stew in Genesis 25, Achan at Ai in Joshua 7, The rich fool in Luke 12).
  • We will put the Kingdom of God first in every decision this year (The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6,7, Hebrews 10:25, 26, Stephen in Acts 6).
  • We will take every opportunity to tell people about Jesus (Peter and John in Acts 3-5, Paul’s sufferings for the gospel in II Corinthians 11, Paul and Caesar’s house in Phil. 4:22).

 

The transference of faith from generation to generation is not accidental. In a year that promises to be hostile against Christianity and a time that is certainly an era of “taking offense” (everybody is offended by everything and political correctness has thwarted rationality), it will take diligence to put conviction in our kids.  I’m praying today for Christian moms and their New Year’s resolutions!

Family Bible Day 2013

KermitEight times over the last weekend, I came out of a giant suitcase dressed in an egg-shell mattress singing “I’m so cool” to the Carly Simon tune of “You’re So Vain”. Being the pompous primitive sponge that I was and touting all of my glorious colors and self-replaceability, I was, of course, infuriated by the human-sized worm that followed me and began singing about her own amazing vitamin emissions and slime excretions. By the time the fish, snake, frog, birds and mammals (including a humongous mole and the cutest dog ever) had all popped out and done their musical numbers the kids were not falling for the incredulous story that the professor was laying on them about billions and billions of years turning slime into humans that think and create and protect and love. In fact, the story that came from the little boy’s prized book in his small suitcase—the one that ended with “And so God made man in his own image,” is the one that won the day. I’m glad, because that book is the one that will win the final day (John 12:48).

Enjoy the slideshow. Come join us in 2014 for Family Bible Week: July 20-23.

Picking Melons and Mates by Cindy Colley

Here it is! The children’s book that’s for toddlers and teens about choosing wisely. It’s especially about using godly wisdom when it’s time to choose a mate for life. The best thing about this book is that it has a three-week Family Bible Time Guide in the back that any parent can easily follow. The first in a Family Bible Time series, this little book about a young boy in the watermelon patch with his Uncle E, will plant seeds in the hearts of your kids that, with prayer and attention, can result in God-approved marriages and happiness that will extend into eternity. The Family Bible Time activities are very Biblical and are designed for ages one to adult…really!

Price: $10.00

Go to product page

Give This a Listen!

As you already know, I’m a big fan of family Bible Time. It’s just that it did so very much to keep our family cohesive and tied to eternity. I could go on about the merits of FBT, but, if you read the blog at all, you’ve already seen them noted. One of the benefits, that I’ve not mentioned heretofore, is the fact that your little family will learn to sing together and it will be a family foretaste of heaven. Our family memorized scripture by singing in our Family Bible Time, ultimately resulting in the Hannah’s Hundred series of CDs. The family that you’ll hear today is the Nicholas family: Blake, Sami, Abel, Song and Job. I know them well and the kids are full of the Bible and fortified by the faith that comes from hearing. I found this CD when I was cleaning up a bit for the holidays and it has blessed my week. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen and sing with them.
  • Jesus Loves The Little Children
  • I Know That My Redeemer Lives
  • Blue Skies and Rainbows
  • Something Beautiful
  • The Greatest Commands
  • I Love Thee So
  • Light The Fire
  • Make Me a Servant
  • Sail Away Home
  • Sing Me a Song

New Family Bible Time Book!

For years now, Glenn and I have been telling young parents that our most practical suggestion for putting faith in kids is to have a Family Bible Time: a relaxed, informal, but very regular time daily spent in singing, prayer and talking about the Word. The advantages are obvious, but the most surprising, for us, was that, when our kids became teens, we never experienced that drawing away–that distance between parents and children–that so many parents have described to us. Bringing their teen questions (about the Bible, about sex, about sin and about the culture) to us seemed the most natural thing in the world. We believe this is due, largely, to the fact that, every single day in their young lives we had spent time talking with them, on their levels, about the things of God. This ritual was just as much a part of our evenings as bedtime brushing. “Storytime,” as we called it, was just a daily dose of fun: short stories, writing notes, Bible charades, scavenger hunts, etc…all centered on the hub in our wheel of life–the Bible. Of course, we made many mistakes along the way, but Family Bible Time can do no harm. It is a win-win proposal for your family– in its spirituality, its cohesiveness, and its glory to God. 
But the inevitable question we hear after parenting seminars is ‘How?…How exactly do we go about starting this Family Bible Time?” That question is certainly one for which we do not have all the answers. A look back at the postings on the “Bless Your Heart” blog will give you some ideas. 
But the most exciting thing we finally have to offer for beginning or boosting your Bible Time is this new children’s book. It’s a sweet story about a little boy’s disappointment when he looked at only the pretty “outsides” and  picked a bad watermelon. It’s a story about wisdom, about choices and about the ultimately important choice of marriage. What I love about this book is the last few pages in the back. There’s a three week parent guide for Family Bible time that’s heavy on the Bible and has fun applications and activities for your children of all ages–even the teens. 
We hope this will help the many parents we meet who are determined to put God in the hearts of their children. We hope this will be just the beginning of much glory, from within the walls of your homes, for our Father. We hope it could plant seeds in little hearts  for strong marriages for your children and grandchildren. We are so imperfect, but God can take our little projects and do big things with them. We pray this book can be a tool He can use to help more families make Family Bible Time a happening thing every single day. We know that will be a good thing. We are praying for this book and all the young hearts it might touch in some small way. We hope to follow it with more Family Bible Time books.
It’s still at the printer’s, but we have a promise that it will be ready for delivery on Friday, December 2nd. So if you are thinking about your kids and grandkids for Christmas, we will be shipping out all pre-orders in the early days of December. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Colley house. We’re excited about having extra people here for our Family Bible Times during the holidays. We’re excited, especially, that we have a new son-in-law this year for Christmas. I think we will have him read a new book to us around the Christmas tree this year–a little book about picking the right mate. We hope he and Hannah will one day read it to our grandkids, too. Do I mention how I’m looking forward to them (the grandkids) often enough? 
Blessings on all the young families!  The first 50 copies will be autographed!

Click here for the link: Colley Books

Resolution: Loosen Up!

It’s interesting to do a word study on “resolution”. Deriving from some Latin words, it originally meant an “unbinding” or “loosening” of something (www.babeled.com). That’s kind of ironic since we think about it as “the making of a firm determination.” Still, there are senses in which we may actually unbind ourselves in the making of New Year’s resolutions. I know friends who are beginning the process of unbinding themselves from debt or a smoking habit or a negative attitude.

Do you want to loosen the grip of the world, lessen the stresses that bind your lifestyle, get out of the hold of hopelessness, or break free from elusive materialistic goals? I think my resolution is going to help me be more free than I’ve ever been in Christ. After all, it is the truth that makes us free and it is His Word that is truth. I’m sincerely hoping to loosen up the ties of worldliness that would keep me from my spiritual goals. More time in the Word has got to be a good thing!

The West Huntsville elders have asked us, as a congregation, to read through the Bible chronologically in 2011. They gave us each a laminated reading schedule and our preacher will be preaching from the texts from which we are reading. I’m really excited about this. The Colley family has found great joy through the years when we all read through a book at the same time. We found ourselves taking about the plot, the characters and philosophies presented. It’s going to be exciting to read through this, the Book of books, with my spiritual family. We can talk all year about its amazing redemptive plot, the characters that were “hands-on” in this grand scheme and the teachings that have made us family in Him. I think our elders are very wise to unite us as a family in the same daily scriptures.

So I’m listing below the readings for the entire year. Let me know if you resolve to do this. If you’re reading along and have comments about particular passages, be sure and let me know those, too. It could be that your thoughts could bless another who is following the comments on “Bless Your Heart”.

Here’s the schedule (just click on it to enlarge):